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Book vs. Movie: Two In One Day

     Quite by accident, last Thursday I was lucky enough to see two movie adaptations in theaters.  The first was a last-minute plan to see one of my friends from middle school again - we both love the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, so we saw the new Sea of Monsters movie.  Later that day I learned that several of my friends were going to see City of Bones at this crappy little theater on Queens Boulevard, so I ended up going to the movies with them too :)  It was a marvelous, mindless movie-watching sort of day.  Yes I just alliterized.  Yes I just invented the verb form of 'alliteration.'
     Anyway.  Movie review #1.  The book The Sea of Monsters is the second book of a YA series following the adventures of Percy Jackson and his friends, who live in modern-day New York City but are the magical offspring of Ancient Greek gods and humans.  The beginning was very promising: It was funny, it incorporated all sorts of mythical whimsy, the main plot points of the book were preserved, Annabeth was blonde, Clarisse was present.  Oh, and we got to see Grover in a wedding dress.  But as it progressed the plot just veered further and further from the plot and by the end the movie had just turned into a big, confusing and unexciting battle against a giant flaming Viking who was referred to as Lord Kronos.
Sorry but WHAT???  
      My friend would say that the gravest sin The Sea of Monsters committed was when, in an explanatory flashback, it tampered with the Ancient Greek myth of creation, and I agree - the whole allure of the Percy books were their ability to take thousand-year-old stories and translate them into the modern world, while still keeping their authenticity.  Don't go if you're not a fan of the books, because the movie might color your opinion of them.  The book series itself is pretty awesome and so much better than the movie.  If you're a Percy fan then I would go, just for the experience.
     Now for City of Bones, which was a much better movie.  City of Bones is the first book in the Mortal Instruments series, and it is about a girl named Clary who suddenly falls into a world populated by vampires, werewolves, evil demons, and the Shadowhunters who hunt and monitor them when she witnesses a group of the hunters in action.  Now I will say that changes were made to the plot, but they were minor and did not change the overall story.  I liked how, unlike The Sea of Monsters, the characters in this movie were really compelling despite all the action and backstory that had to be covered.  It was exciting, visually beautiful (though not as beautiful as Gatsby was), and a great story.  The choice in actors was also very good, aside from one major flaw that I will get into later.  Clary's mother and most of the Shadowhunters looked exactly how I  imagined them.
     My one issue with the casting was Lily Collins - not the way she portrayed Clary, which was great, but simply the fact that she is drop-dead gorgeous.  I know Clary is supposed to be pretty, but she's supposed to be pretty in a less obvious way.  She is supposed to be freckley and short (represent!), with orange hair in braids.  Instead Lily Collins has flawless skin and flowy black hair with tasteful red ombre.  If it was up to me, I would have cast Lily Collins but given her freckles and made her a real ginger.  But that's just me, and honestly its one small problem in an overall fun movie.
     I feel like City of Bones was one of those YA books that was just made to become a movie.  It's a good book but not my favorite, so I would say that the movie was pretty close to being as good as the book.  And if on a hotter-than-hell Tuesday afternoon you are given a choice between The Sea of Monsters and City of Bones, I would suggest you pick the latter.

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